Who’s Who in the Hoboken Mayoral Race

Click through to see who is hoping to follow in Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's footsteps.
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Councilman Ravinder Bhalla.
When Zimmer announced that she would not pursue a third term, she did so with Bhalla by her side, immediately endorsing her long-term ally as her choice for Hoboken mayor in the November election. Bhalla said he plans to continue Zimmer’s progress in Hoboken. But, for those tired of Zimmer’s administration, Bhalla’s staunch loyalty to the mayor may be a place to begin attacks. Bhalla, an attorney in Rochelle Park, has been on the Hoboken city council since 2010 and has served as council president.
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Michael DeFusco.
When DeFusco was first elected to the city council in 2015, it was a part of Zimmer’s slate. However, the first-term city councilman changed his tune on Zimmer and instead opted to launch his own mayoral campaign in May, claiming that Hoboken needs a new direction and smarter business acumen moving forward. On Wednesday, DeFusco got the endorsement of Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), the first openly gay member of the New Jersey Legislature and the prime sponsor of the bill that could bring legal recreational marijuana to New Jersey.
Michael DeFusco
City Council President Jen Giattino.
Like Bhalla, Giattino is a strong Zimmer ally who said she plans to continue the current mayor's initiatives if elected. While she only entered the race after Zimmer's departure, Giattino said she can “take a fresh look” at the issues plaguing the city and bring Hoboken “to the next level.” She wants to up pubic-private partnerships and invest in smart development. Giattino was first elected to the city council in 2011.
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Freeholder Anthony Romano.
The Hudson County freeholder got the endorsement of the Hudson County Democratic Organization and won the primary for freeholder in June. But, that hasn’t stopped Romano from announcing that he is weighing a run for mayor, even if that means running for both offices at the same time. Romano has said that he will make the decision on how to move forward with his two campaigns when the November election gets closer.
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Ronald Bautista.
Bautista has been an advocate for Bike Hoboken, a group dedicated to making Hoboken cyclist and pedestrian friendly. According to a campaign video, Bautista wants to continue public service by implementing programs that would build a “people-friendly city.”
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Karen Nason.
The local business owner claims that Zimmer’s tenure was damaging to small businesses and property owners. She wants to create a successful business climate by working with investors and by encouraging a strong arts community.
Nason for Mayor

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced last month that she would not be pursuing re-election in the small city adjacent to the Hudson River. Instead of a third term, Zimmer said, she wants to pursue environmental initiatives to help prevent hurricanes like 2012’s Sandy from tearing through towns like Hoboken.

Zimmer’s departure from the race drastically changed the dynamics in Hoboken, creating an opening for a slew of candidates to enter the fray and try to succeed the current mayor.

Click through for a primer on all of the candidates.

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